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ECSU to host first-ever Hispanic Heritage Festival

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Keren Maceira, a Shakira impressionist and dance instructor, will be one of the performers at the Hispanic Heritage Festival at Elizabeth City State University on Saturday.

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From staff reports

Friday, October 12, 2018

Elizabeth City State University will host its first-ever Hispanic Heritage Festival on Saturday.

The free event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the R.L. Vaughan Center Sports Complex Gymnasium.

According to Jaime Baron of the ECSU Community and Campus Latino Resource Team, the festival will feature Hispanic entertainers, face-painting for kids, Hispanic vendors and local vendors.

“The event is in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month,” Baron said in a statement included in a press release from the university. “Our 2018 ECSU census reveals that we have 68 students who identify with being Hispanic. In addition, there are thousands of Hispanic residents in the region that covers several counties.”

Baron said the goal of the festival is to educate the community about various Hispanic cultures, and to provide a bridge for both Hispanic and non-Hispanic consumers and businesses to interact, and to strengthen the community with diversity and innovation.

“The current market segment of Hispanics provides additional opportunity for local businesses to reach more consumers,” said Baron, who added that Hispanic businesses will also have the opportunity to reach new markets as well.

Baron said he was approached by some Latino faculty and staff last year about helping students organize a Hispanic student group. About 40 students joined the group and said a Hispanic-themed festival was one of the activities they hoped to sponsor.

“Really this is about celebrating a really fun and rich culture,” Baron said. “This is about it being Hispanic Heritage Month and we really wanted to have a festival not only for the students but also for the community. This is about cultural exposure. This is about economic exposure.”

The festival will feature Latino music and performers, as well as non-Hispanic performers from the community. The event will also feature Latino food and include involvement by Latino and non-Latino businesses.

“All we want to do is celebrate the wonderful things from the culture and bring it to the community,” Baron said.

Baron started two years ago in July at the ECSU Small Business and Technology Development Center, where he is a business counselor and consultant.

A number of Latino faculty and staff helped organize the event. In addition, the Office of the Chancellor and Office of Institutional Advancement have been very involved, he said.

Faculty and staff who have helped with planning the event and assisting in its implementation include Jose Gil, professor of language, literature and communication; Annemarie Delgado, director of sponsored programs, contracts and grants; Roberto Frontera-Suau, professor of natural sciences; Gabriela Ddl Villar Juarez, professor of language, literature and communication; and Walter Iriarte, professor of language, literature and communication.

Volunteers from some of the churches in the community are also helping, Baron said.

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